Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and potentially dangerous gas produced when fuel (heating oil, propane, kerosene, charcoal, gasoline, wood or natural gas) is burned without enough air for complete combustion. If inhaled in large quantities for a prolonged time period, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death.
Learning to identify the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is the first step toward protecting you and your family. These symptoms include: fatigue, coughing, headache, irregular breathing, dizziness, overall paleness, nausea, and cherry red lips and/or ears. If you, or anyone in your household, experience these symptoms, immediately open windows and doors to ventilate your home, then move outside and call 9-1-1 or the fire department.
Here are some ways to help protect you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning:
• Have your chimney, appliances and heating equipment inspected and tested by a qualified professional every year.
• Install ventless heaters in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and never use them as a primary heat source.
• Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home. Do not rely on carbon monoxide detectors as a substitute for maintaining appliances, heating equipment or chimneys. If you do choose to install a carbon monoxide detector, use it as an additional preventative measure.*
• Clear snow and ice from exhaust vents and intake air vents for gas appliances to prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating in your home.
• Never use a gas oven or stovetop for heating your home.
• Never run a gasoline engine (such as a gasoline generator) or an automobile in an enclosed space.
• Never use a portable charcoal or propane grill indoors.